A T visa is a special nonimmigrant status granted by a visa. A T visa is a form of humanitarian visa designed to help protect certain individuals. So, exactly what is a T visa? What are the requirements to apply for a T visa? In this article, you will learn more about the T visa, its requirements, the application process, and the benefits of the T visa. If you have questions about T visas, immigration, or which visa may be right for you, contact Michael Brooks-Jiminez, P.C. to learn more. Our immigration attorneys are ready to help you now.

What Is a T Visa?

In October 2000, Congress created the U visa when they passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, which also included the Battered Immigrant Women's Protection Act. Here are the specific U visa requirements that must be met to qualify for this humanitarian visa.

You Are the Victim of a Qualifying Crime

A T visa is a humanitarian visa that grants certain victims status to remain in the United States for up to four years as long as they assist law enforcement with the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. The person who applies for protection underneath the T visa is known as the principal. The principal has the ability to apply on behalf of qualifying family members as well.

The T visa was created in October 2000 as part of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act. The objective was to end modern-day slavery and to stop traffickers from taking advantage of people without legal immigration status. T visas offer protection to victims of human trafficking while allowing them to cooperate with law enforcement and also begin an investigation into what's happened.

Many people who read or hear the term "human trafficking" immediately think of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is certainly included (and rightfully so; many times, immigrants are promised other jobs and then prostituted once they arrive). However, labor trafficking is also common. This often happens with H2A (agricultural) and H2B (temporary) visas. They may be held against their will and not allowed to leave their employer's property, not paid for their work, or told that they may not leave until additional payments are made for their travel.

Under federal law, both sex trafficking and labor trafficking are considered a "severe form of trafficking."

T Visa Requirements

T visa requirements include:

  • You are a victim of sex trafficking or labor trafficking.
  • You are in the US, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry because of trafficking.
  • You will cooperate with any reasonable request from law enforcement for help in the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking (unless you're under 18 or unable to cooperate because of trauma).
  • You must show that you would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if you left the US.
  • You are eligible to be admitted to the United States (otherwise you can apply for a waiver using Form I-192).

About the T Visa Application Process

As of October 2020, USIC states that the average processing time for a T visa is 18 to 29 months. All T visa applications are processed by the Vermont Service Center. USIC does all for each individual applicant to check their case status.

The first step in applying for a T visa is to complete Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status. It includes a personal statement. The personal statement is your opportunity to explain how you are a victim of trafficking. If you have an immediate family member you also want to apply for, you can submit Form I-914, Supplement A, Application for Immediate Family Member of T-1 Recipient. The information includes their relationship to you, information about you, information about your family member, and several questions that must be answered.

The second step is to complete Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Persons if it is possible for you to do so. The purpose of this form is to show that you have cooperated with law enforcement to show that you are a victim of trafficking. You can also choose to submit other types of evidence instead of completing this form. Examples of evidence that can be helpful for the processing of a T visa may include trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, news articles, and affidavits from other people and professionals who have first-hand knowledge about what happened to you.

The third step is to make sure that you have any other necessary evidence that could be helpful to support your T visa application. This could vary from person to person.

If you are not eligible to enter the United States, you may need to take a fourth step and complete Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant.

There are no fees required to file the required forms for a T visa with USIC, but there is a filing fee for Form I-192. There is also a fee waiver that you may apply for.

The T visa application process allows you to use a safe mailing address if you do not feel safe applying for a T visa using your home address. This measure helps keep you safer and the process is more confidential.

Do You Qualify for a T Visa?

Human trafficking is serious. Please don't allow your status to stop you from seeking legal help. A T visa could be your way to safety. If you have questions about the T visa and whether you might qualify, Michael Brooks-Jiminez, P.C. is here to answer your questions

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Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen

Written by Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen

Natalia Riveros-Jacobsen, originally from Bogotá Colombia, serves as an associate at Michael Brooks-Jimenez, P.C where she focuses her immigration law practice on deportation, family and employment based immigrant petitions at the firm’s Oklahoma City law office.